Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LHP Nikolas Turley, Harvard-Westlake High School (1502th Overall)

LHP Nikolas Turley, New York YankeesNikolas Turley, LHP
Harvard-Westlake HS (CA), L/L, 6-4, 210
Hometown: La Canada, California

STATUS: Signed, $125 Signing Bonus - Playing for the GCL Yankees

In the 50th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees selected high school lefthander Nikolas Turley out of Harvard-Westlake High School in La Canada, California. Only 18, New York dolled out sixth round slot money ($125k), to keep Turley from attending Brigham Young University. He’s a strong southpaw with projectability and a high ceiling.

Nik Turley capped his high school career at Harvard-Westlake with a brilliant complete game performance. The senior went seven innings and struck out 12 (five looking). With his seventh complete game in 11 starts, Turley lowered his ERA to 1.88. He struck out 72 hitters in 67 innings.

I recently emailed Turley’s high school coach, Matthew LaCour, for a scouting report. His response:

"Nik is a three pitch guy (fastball, slider/slurve and changeup). His best pitch and the one that he goes to right now is the fastball. He is consistently in the upper 80’s but this summer saw his velocity jump a bit which is a big reason why the Yankees went hard to sign him. Nik’s second pitch is a combo slurve/curve that is relatively inconsistent. The pitch is really projectable, has good speed (70-72), and good spin. It has late break but is inconsistent. One day it’s a great strike pitch and the next it is not. As time goes by I would assume that this pitch will become a real weapon. It was at times this year for us.

"Nik’s 3rd pitch is a change-up which he is developing. He used it this year but has a problem with slowing his arm down, when he gets a better feel and throws the pitch more it will be fine. [It's] never going to be his pitch, but could be part of his repertoire. I wouldn’t be surprised – with the size of his hand and his arm speed – if they don’t develop a split finger pitch in the coming years.

"Nik’s mechanics are pretty good. He does wrap the ball behind his back a bit as he brings it out of his glove. I am sure they will try and fix this; I’m not sure it will happen nor is it bad enough to cause a lot of concern.

"Nik, like most high school pitchers that get drafted, just needs to clean-up what he already has. He has the tools, just needs to be refined. He has the work ethic and determination. Our coaching staff came to our school two years ago and we have seen Nik make huge strides. He is nowhere near his ceiling!"
Turley is off to a strong start in the Gulf Coast League with nine strikeouts in five innings. In an admittedly small sample size, he’s held opponents to a .211 batting average and has yet to walk a batter. Turley is a long way off but certainly a youngster worth following.

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